Hilltoppers' Adams settles into top spot on Elite 11

Douglas Fritz • Updated Nov 22, 2017 at 6:08 PM

When teams lined up to play Science Hill, there was one thing foremost in their minds: what to do with No. 11.

That jersey belonged to Jaylan Adams, and he used the Hilltoppers’ 11 games to rack up over 3,000 yards of total offense. The senior quarterback was chosen Wednesday as the Johnson City Press Elite 11 player of the year.

Joining him atop the Elite awards was Johnson County’s Hayden Osborne, who was selected as the defensive player of the year. The Longhorns’ superb 11-1 season also netted them coach of the year with Don Kerley earning that honor.

The Elite 11

Player of the Year

Jaylan Adams, Science Hill

Defensive Player of the Year

Hayden Osborne, Johnson County

Coach of the Year

Don Kerley, Johnson County

POS Player School Ht Wt Yr
QB JAYLAN ADAMS Science Hill 5-10 164 Sr.
LB HAYDEN OSBORNE Johnson County 5-7 150 Sr.
QB CADE LARKINS David Crockett 6-1 205 So.


6-3 175 Sr.
QB CARTER EVERETT Elizabethton 6-5 220 Jr.
FS OWEN NICHOLSON Unicoi County 5-10 170 Sr.
RB JORDAN COFFEY Cloudland 5-11 185 Jr.
OL LANDON MOREFIELD Happy Valley 6-3 307 Sr.
OL DAWSON PIERSON Dobyns-Bennett 6-2 258 Sr.
QB NATHAN ARNOLD Johnson County 6-2 175 Sr.
QB NOAH SHELTON Daniel Boone 6-4 215 Sr.

Here’s a look at the annual squad:

Jaylan Adams, Science Hill

The Hilltoppers couldn’t keep the momentum down the stretch, but Adams never relented in helping the offense stay in high gear. He was a big reason the Hilltoppers reached the Class 6A playoffs before suffering a tough loss to Bradley Central.

Adams completed 103 of 169 attempts (61 percent) for 1,630 yards and 12 touchdowns. On running plays or as a scrambler when pass plays broke down, Adams was even more dangerous. He carried 170 times for 1,431 yards and scored 21 times.

Hayden Osborne, Johnson County

The senior rolled in full beast mode from the get-go. He was one of Northeast Tennessee’s leading tacklers while also reaching double digits in tackles for loss and sacks.

Capping his season was a blocked extra point that preserved a one-point win over Northview Academy in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.

Cade Larkins, David Crockett

No Northeast Tennessee quarterback threw for more yards this year than the air-happy sophomore.

Larkins racked up 2,903 yards passing with 21 touchdowns while helping the Pioneers navigate through three coaches and still reach the Class 5A playoffs.

Ryan Wetzel, Elizabethton

It was a season to remember for the senior receiver as he set a school record with 21 touchdown catches.

He also finished with a stunning 85 receptions for 1,075 yards while helping the Cyclones reach the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Carter Everett, Elizabethton

With a completion percentage of .690 and 34 touchdown tosses compared to just four interceptions, the junior quarterback’s numbers were staggering.

Everett finished with 2,986 total yards and 36 total touchdowns.

Owen Nicholson, Unicoi County

If they made a tackling machine, a linebacker would probably be used as the model. But Nicholson was a flying-all-over-the-field safety who recorded 151 tackles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

The senior also had 449 yards receiving with four scores to go along with a kick return touchdown and a punt return back for six more points.

Jordan Coffey, Cloudland

Northeast Tennessee’s leading rusher, Coffey was an integral part of the Highlanders’ 9-3 season that ended in the second round of the Class 1A playoffs.

The junior running back totaled 1,781 yards on the ground and added 24 touchdowns.

Landon Morefield, Happy Valley

Be it offense or defense, Morefield was the starting point of attack for a Warriors’ squad that reached the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

A senior, Morefield was chosen as the Region 1-2A offensive lineman of the year while winning scrimmage battles to power his way to over 80 tackles on the defensive side of the ball.

Dawson Pierson, Dobyns-Bennett

The Indians were left for dead after a 2-3 start and a brutal schedule still ahead. However, the offense started punishing every team in sight with a churning ground game led by the Region 1-6A offensive lineman of the year.

A senior, Pierson would eventually help The Tribe come within six points of the state quarterfinals.

Nathan Arnold, Johnson County

Taking everything into consideration, Arnold’s final numbers were about as impressive as any on the Elite 11.

Helping the Longhorns set a school record for wins, and often having to create things outside of the pocket, the senior quarterback threw for 2,107 yards and 22 touchdowns on the season.

Noah Shelton, Daniel Boone

Despite missing a game, the senior quarterback still managed to total 1,065 yards passing and 1,015 rushing in the regular season.

The dual-threat senior quarterback also helped the Trailblazers earn their first-ever region championship as they finished with a record of 8-3.

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